Myth: My doctor didn’t recommend neurofeedback so it must not be very effective

Fact: Physicians are not trained in biofeedback, neurofeedback, or brain mapping. Standard medical school and residency curriculum including the fields of neurology and psychiatry, do not offer training in neurofeedback.  However, there is a growing number of physicians interested and trained (by choice) and clinics incorporating neurofeedback.

Myth: There is no research behind neurofeedback

Fact: There are thousands of articles published in peer-reviewed journals documenting the efficacy of neurofeedback and biofeedback for a variety of conditions. A simple search of publications focused on neurofeedback and efficacy  returned 13,396 peer-reviewed research papers between 2000 and 2019 .

Myth: The person doing neurofeedback “consciously learns” how to control their own brainwaves.

Fact: The person doing neurofeedback does not learn how to control their brain wave activity. THE BRAIN learns how to control its own activity through conditioning and reinforcement much like a gymnast’s brain learns how to keep the person on the balance beam more effectively with practice. The only thing that the gymnast knows is that he/she wants to stay on the balance beam.

Myth: If the client does not start to show some signs of progress within 4 weeks then neurofeedback won’t be helpful for that person.

Fact: It is true that some people, approximately 40%, are quicker responders and will show developing improvements within the first month. However, another 40% are more gradual in their response and need to complete 8-10 weeks of training for improvements to show and for us to determine their expected trajectory and rate of progress. Comparison testing helps us determine rate and amount of progress.

Myth: Neurofeedback and medication cannot co-exist, and I have to choose one or the other

Fact: Both neurofeedback and medication can help brain function and, in certain cases, can be combined. Often, the brain is regulating much better after having done neurofeedback and is typically less medication dependent after treatment. Only your doctor can determine the need or changes in medication.

Myth: The effects of neurofeedback wear off over time.

Fact: The positive effects of neurofeedback are generally maintained over time though selected cases do need occasional “tune-ups” from time to time. It is essential that neurofeedback be consistently done for a period of 8-12 weeks in order to establish more lasting results. Brain map changes are maintained over time with very few exceptions.

Myth: Neurofeedback is invasive.

Fact: Neurofeedback is a non-invasive biological conditioning and learning technique. No electricity is sent to the brain like in psychiatric methods (e.g., ECT, etc.) Consequently, neurofeedback’s training focus has made it popular amongst amateur and professional athletes, NASA pilots, Olympic training programs, and other areas of peak performance where brain performance needs to be enhanced.

Myth: Neurofeedback is somewhat expensive.

Fact: One has to compare the cost of neurofeedback vs. years of psychotherapy vs. the cost of being medicated for decades. The lifetime loss of income and medical health care costs that are associated with various neurological conditions (depression, anxiety, ADD, seizure disorder, etc.) is staggering and makes the cost of neurofeedback look very appealing. After the initial assessments are completed, the cost of each session becomes less than the cost of a massage.

We thank Dr. Wes Center, PhD, LPC-S, for providing these Myths and Facts about neurofeedback.